tv [untitled] August 14, 2011 12:00am-12:30am PDT
to the 2011 justice summit by the book. i'm so excited to be here. you know, we've been doing these summits now for seven years, but this by far is the most exciting summit. i cannot wait to hear the panelists that we have today. we're going to be delving in to some of the most critical issues affecting the criminal justice system at this time. and we're going to talk about, what is justice and what it means. you know, plateo said, "i do not know what justice is, but i know what it is not." and that is very true when you think about it because it's something that we take for granted, that we believe in,
that we hope for, but the reality is is that we don't understand and appreciate justice unless we are deprived of it. and in many cases the definition of justice is the correction of an injustice, and that's really the spisht that we're approaching today. we have three action-packed panels. our first panel celebrates the 50th anniversary of a novel that really defined american justice in the 1960's and that's "to kill a mockingbird." and many a lawyer was motivated by atticus finch in his closing argument in that case which in many ways represented the civil rights movement that was to come and it already begun.
we have best-selling authors. we have a real-life atticus finch, tony serra, who is here and has motivated so many of us to do what we do. our second panel looks at abuse of power, abuse of power and how it happens and why it happens and most importantly what we can do and need to do to prevent it. whether it's a prosecutor or a judge or a defender render ineffective assistance to counsel or a police officer violating constitutional rights. this is not something we can tolerate, yet it happens each and every day. and our panel is going to delve deep into the issues that we're seeing not only here in the bay area but throughout the country and throughout the world.
our third panel after lunch will talk about the future of the death penalty and hopefully its demise. you might be surprised that we are having a conversation here in san francisco about the death penalty. as you know, our district attorney has indicated that he may seek the death penalty in appropriate cases in san francisco, and that has not been the case for the past decade. but he's coming today to talk about his views. we also have a former warden at san quentin who surprised the last three executions, and she is now the head of death penalty focus which is an anti-death penalty group. we have somebody, though, who really symbolizes everything
that's wrong with the death penalty. in 1983 he was arrested and within 120 days was convicted in two trials which resulted in the death penalty. he was sentenced to angola in louisiana, death row, where they were executing people left and right. he spent 14 years. he had nearly half a dozen execution dates. and yet he survived and he's here today. and actually -- i know you are on the third panel. come on up. come on up. this is james "j.t." thompson. he came all the way from louisiana to be here today. [applause]
one question, how did you survive? >> god. god. god. death row is a place that brings out the truest human being in you. it makes you realize you can't take nothing for granted. you need to love every moment of each day and praise and thank god for each moment you have out here. for the system to do what it did to me -- i was the only child from my mother. i was a father too. the system didn't see none of that. it did not see me not having a criminal record. it's hard to accept. it's hard to keep on continuing to accept a prosecutor or
somebody that wants to sentence swub to death with a system that's corrupt as ours. all right. [applause] >> i want to take this opportunity to thank the sponsors who have made the summit possible. the law firm of brown and furtel and my good friend, dave young, thank you. the criminal trial lawyers association. we'll hear from their incoming president in a few minutes. and also stuart hanlon as well as the bar association of san francisco. so let's have a round of applause for our sponsors today . let's get down to it. so before we get started i want to introduce someone who's a
wonderful leader in our community and that's the president of the bar association of san francisco. >> thank you. thank you, jeff, for inviting me on behalf of the bar association of san francisco. i'm priya sanger. i'm president of the bar association of san francisco. basf, as we note the bar association to be called, has had a long relationship with the public defenders office. it is crucially important for administration of justice. and so is san francisco conflicts panels where administration, which the bar association has provided in
partnership with public defenders. so in san francisco when a public defender has a conflict of interest, criminal defendants and minors are represented by private attorneys from a panel administered by the bar association of san francisco. maintaining this independent body of attorneys is critically important as a well-run public defenders office. we are each other's complement. we are the sum of the parts that makes whole the criminal departments working so well in san francisco. in 2003 the superior court contracted with the bar association of san francisco indigent to have cost-saving oversight to the administration and billing associated with conflicts. so tron is the director of the courts administration and has been working with jeff since 2003 to make sure that indigent panels are effective and that
they do all -- that we do all we can to prevent recidivism. so thank you, jeff, for allowing us to be here and co-sponsoring this event. thank you all for coming here. [applause] >> thank you. next i'd like to introduce, the incoming president of the criminal trial lawyers association of northern california, frank. >> hello. i'm frank and president-elect of criminal trial lawyers association of northern california. ctla is a proud co-sponsor of the justice summit here today. i've been asked to say a few words about ctla to both inform and entertain you for about the next two minutes. it's a professional association of criminal defense lawyers in the bay area. our membership list includes about 400 lawyers and private
investigators, expert witnesses and even some professors and law students. our members are -- how do i say this -- luminaries in the field. today, the justice conference honors a past ctla honoree, one of our own, tony serra. ctla has featured the likes of not only tony serra at a feature presenter at our programs but those that include jim bross that has who defends cases most of the time but was the special prosecutor in the cat wineberger case. john was responsible for ollie north. chris argatis, who i don't think has prosecuted anyone but defends everyone. and other greats like patrick and nancy. our programs have historically been more a mix of social and educational gatherings. our history dates back to 1962. we had a judge's luncheon in
1962 and our list of ctla presidents goes back that far. i wish i had the time to list them all but i don't. we'll get that list on our ctla page soon. san francisco is lucky to have ctla to kick around. our shall i say, to have our ctla members to kick around. but seriously, i'm humbled by the ctla members who every day, every day defend their clients using the constitutions of the united states and california in support of great principles. every day our members show courage in bay area courts, and we do ok in the big battles as well. who will ever forget the extraordinary accomplishments of john in defending our college, patrick, from a crazy federal prosecutor in nevada? that level of talent and that level of courage is unique, but every day criminal courts in the bay area shine because my colleagues from ctla are
working there. recently ctla issued a public statement against the death penalty. ctla joins other groups and individuals here today in calling for permanent incarceration as california's alternative to the death penalty. this city and county has a great san francisco public defender and we want to express our thanks to jeff adachi for his support of ctla over the years and for his gratitude for being here today. thank you for your taxi and have a great conference -- thank you for your attention and have a great conference. [applause] >> i also want to acknowledge the public defender, past-present president of the california lawyers association. thank you for being here. now, we have our 50th anniversary tribute to "to kill a mockingbird." how many of you have read the book? seen the movie? i think everybody has seen it.
well, this tribute features not only a great clip from "to kill a mockingbird" but atticus finch himself played by julian lopez-morillas who is one of the finest actors in the bay area. so let's go back to memory lane and enjoy this performance. >> ladies and gentlemen, gregory peck. >> never seems as fresh and wonderful, as good and evil as it does when seen through the eyes of a child. trying to capture that is remarkable and perhaps that is why one look and the last few years has been so warmly embraced by tens of millions of
people. "to kill a mockingbird," winner of the pulitzer prize and just about every award a book can win and now happily "to kill a mockingbird" becomes a motion picture and its memorable characters become vividly alive. some people call him jane louise finch. but she insists on scout. and that's her brother, gym. just a boy until the day he learns there is evil in the world. and atticus finch, the father, whose devotion of justice places him and his children in jeopardy. and party to the defense, john robinson. >> excuse me. >> what kind of man are you? you got children of your own. >> atticus finch.
>> this ring that belonged to your mother. you want to tell us what really happened? >> i got nothing to say. do nothing about it. you coward! >> gentlemen, i shall be brief but i would like to use the remaining time i have with you to remind you that this case is not a difficult one. it requires no minute sifting
of complicated facts, but it does require you to be sure beyond a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the defendant. to begin with, this case should never have come to trial. this case is as simple as black and white. the state has produced not one iota of medical evidence to the effect that the crime tom robinson is charged with ever took place. it has relied instead on the testimony of two witnesses whose evidence is not only been called into serious question on cross-examination but has been flatly contradicted by the defendant. the defendant is not guilty. but somebody in this courtroom is.
i have nothing but pity in my heart for the chief witness for the state, but my pity does not extend so far as to her putting a man's life at risk which is what she has done in an effort to get rid of her guilt. i say guilt, gentlemen, because it was guilt that motivated her . she has committed no crime. she has merely broken a rigid and time-honored code of our society, a code so severe that whoever breaks it is hounded from our midst as unfit to live with. she is the victim of cruel poverty and ignorance but i cannot pity her. she is white. she understood full well the enormity of her offense, but because her desires were stronger than the code she was
breaking she persisted in breaking it. she persisted, and her subsequent behavior is something we have all known at one time or another. she tried to put the -- she did something every child has done. she tried to put the evidence of her offense away from her, but in this case she was no child hiding stolen contraband. she struck out as her victim of necessity. she must put him away from her. she must remove him from her presence, from this world. she must destroy the evidence of her offense. what was the evidence of her offense? tom robinson, a human being. she must put tom robinson away from her. tom robinson was her daily